Noel Name Meaning

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If you’re looking for a name that conjures up the joy of the holiday season, Noel is the name for you.

Noel or Noël is derived from the Old French word, "nael," meaning “of or born on Christmas.”

The name goes back to the birth of Jesus, which was referred to as "natalis dies" meaning "day of birth.” It later emerged into Middle English as "Nowel."

Since the Middle Ages, the name has traditionally been given to children born during the Christmas period. While it’s a popular name for both males and females, sometimes the feminine form of the name is spelled as Noelle.

  • Origin: Noel is an Old French name meaning “of or born on Christmas.”
  • Gender: Noel is often used as a boy name, but is a popular option for girls too.
  • Pronunciation: noh-el

Although many baby names are separated by gender, Verywell Family believes that sex does not need to play a role in your name selection process. It’s important to select a name that you feel suits your new baby the best.

How Popular Is the Name Noel?

The name Noel has been in use as a first and last name since the 12th century and became a more established first name by the 18th century.

By the 19th century, the popularity of the name started to increase. While it was still used as a girl's name, the name was predominantly given to boys.

Among boy's names, Noel reached its most popular ranking in 1938, according to the latest Social Security Administration data. The name has been consistently featured in the top 1000 names for boys since 1880.

For girls, the name Noel lost its charm in 1998. Thereafter, it fell off the list of top 1000 names. But the more popular variation, Noelle, has been charting the Top 500 names in the US and reached its peak popularity in 2021.

Name Variations

The following are variations of the name Noel:

  • Nael (Old French)
  • Natal (Spanish)
  • Natale (Spanish and French)
  • Noele (French)
  • Noell (French)
  • Noelle (French)
  • Nollaig (Irish)
  • Nowel (French)
  • Nowell (English)

Similar Names

Similar sounding names to Noel:

  • Nahal
  • Nalo
  • Neal
  • Neil
  • Neola
  • Niall
  • Niel 
  • Nyla 

Other names inspired by the festive season:

  • Bethany
  • Carol
  • Christian
  • Emmanuelle
  • Jasper
  • Natalia
  • Nicholas
  • Noeleen
  • Yule

Other gender-neutral names starting with N:

  • Nash
  • Neel
  • Nell
  • Nevada
  • Nicky
  • Nico
  • Noah
  • Noe
  • Nolan
  • Nova
  • Nuru

Suggested Sibling Names

Looking for a sibling name for Noel? Here are some popular options:

  • Aiden
  • Evan
  • Ezra
  • Gabriel
  • Isaiah
  • Joel
  • Liam
  • Olivia
  • Zoe

Famous People Named Noel

The name Noel is associated with notable performers such as Noel Gugliemi of “Fast and Furious,” and Noel Fielding, the Irish actor in the show “The Mighty Boosh" and the movie “Moby Dick." Other distinguished Noels include the creator of Puffin Books, Noel Carrington, American singer-songwriter, Noel Paul Stookey, and Countess of Rothes, Noël Leslie, who was famous for helping steer her lifeboat to safety during the Titanic disaster.

Famous Noels:

  • Noel Edmonds, English television presenter, writer, and producer known for TV shows such as “Top of the Pops,” “Top Gear,” and “Deal or No Deal”
  • Noel Fisher, Canadian actor best known for his role in the series “Shameless” and for the portrayal of the character Michelangelo in the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle” movies
  • Noel Gallagher, English singer, songwriter, and guitarist best known as lead guitarist and principal songwriter for the rock band Oasis
  • Noël Kristi Wells, American actress, comedian, and writer known for appearing on the series Saturday Night Live and for her role in the Netflix comedy-drama “Master of None”
  • Noel Neill, American actress known for playing Lois Lane in the film series “Superman” and “Atom Man vs. Superman,” along with the 1950s television series “Adventures of Superman”
  • Noel Stockdale, English businessman who co-founded the British supermarket chain, Asda

More Baby Names

Still searching for the perfect baby name? Check out these related baby name lists for even more options: 

The Most Popular Baby Names of 2020

100 Gender-Neutral Baby Names

50 Magical Baby Names

1 Source
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Social Security Administration. Popular baby names.

By Meena Azzollini
Meena Azzollini is a health and wellness content creator with experience covering parenting, women's health, and mental health. She specializes in creating effective content for various health and wellness-based businesses and empowers them with words that make a connection with their audience.